Right tools for writing to deployed parent: Glue and glitter
Stars and Stripes June 21, 2003
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Bobby Enfinger knows just what is lacking on the card he is creating for his deployed dad. Glue. Blue, sticky and absolutely captivating.
With his left hand upside down on the glue bottle, the 3-year-old squeezes out a blob big enough to submerge a Humvee. Perfect. Hummm, now for more sparklies!
The prevailing philosophy at Friday morning’s letter-writing for children event was that kids can’t use too much glue or too many sparklies. Bobby and his big brother, Steven “Bubba” Varner, 6, work intently on something special for their father, Spc. George Sabillion.
Bubba’s and Bobby’s father is a 92 Golf, or cook, deployed to Iraq with Baumholder’s 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment of the 1st Armored Division, says Rachel Sabillion, their mother. They really miss him, and like to write their own letters to Dad all the time, she says.
Having him gone is tough. Her husband last called home to wish her a happy Mother’s Day, she says.
“I missed the call, but he left a message on the answering machine,” she says. “Now, they listen to it and cry.”
“When they hear it, they answer back. Bobby says, ‘Daddy, I love you too!’ but Daddy doesn’t answer back.”
Baumholder’s Army Community Service put on the event in the Family Readiness Group community center, as a way to help children cope with a missing parent, said Doris Price, an assistant with the base’s Family Advocacy Program. Arts and crafts are “sort of therapy for kids. Therapy for [adults] too,” Price said.
As she speaks, Bridget Sanders, the community outreach, deployment and mobilization coordinator, helps Bubba with the final details on his card. His card features a sparkly heart and “I love you” in big letters, surrounded by stars. Lots of stars.
Rachel Sabillion says she gives it to her boys straight.
“I tell them exactly where [her husband is], and what he’s doing,” she says. But at least for a morning, the boys’ biggest issue is whether their cards need more glue, or sparklies. They choose both.
For the first letter-writing session, 21 children and six adults showed up, “and the people who showed up really liked it,” Price says. Maybe they like it enough to do it on a monthly basis until the soldiers return home.
“When you try do this at home,” she says, “it’s really hard to bring out the glitter and all the good stuff.”